Ask Us: "Am I Too Old to Be Jumping This High?"

Ask Us:

Did you know that as a Masterclass member, you can get one-on-one feedback from some of our Masterclass instructors? It's true! We do weekly callouts for question submissions, and the instructors kindly take the time to answer via video. Plus, these Q&As are now hosted on our mobile app and are easy to watch, download, and save for later. Go here to try it for free. 

This member submitted a question for sport psychologist, Dr. Jenny Susser, regarding some fear she's experienced riding later in life. We've transcribed Dr. Jenny's answer below. 

Question: "First, I love your Equestrian Masterclass sessions. They have provided lots of insights, and are very thought-provoking. I am 63, and a hunter rider. I'm struggling with trying to determine the difference between rational concern/fear about jumping (3'6") at my age, versus irrational fear. Sometimes I feel fine and confident, other times I feel like I'm too old to be jumping this high. How do I tell the difference?"
- E

Dr. Jenny Susser: If you've watched my Masterclasses you've heard me say this over and over again, what are the keys to performance? The key is preparation. Everything you do revolves around preparation - your skill set, your confidence, your horse, your horse's skill set and confidence, and your relationship with your horse. 

My advice is this: If you feel like you've done the work and you're prepared to jump 3'6", it should have nothing to do with whether you're 63, 36, or 13. Check in with yourself every single day and see how prepared you feel. 

My guess is that this irrational fear around your age is the result of some type of cultural influence - that at 63 you "shouldn't" be jumping this high. Perhaps someone said that to you and it stuck with you, or perhaps you have someone currently in your life telling you that. If that's the case, then it's time to check in with them and the question to ask them is, "Why at 63 do you think I can't jump 3'6"?" Then, check in with yourself. The question to ask yourself if, "Why am I listening to someone when I know I can jump 3'6"?" 

I hope that helps and let us know how that works out for you, E. 

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